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Field Trip | Steve Light’s Swap! A Books of Wonder Window

Steve Light's SWAP! A Books of Wonder Window

Give us a minute of your time (okay, one minute and one second) and we’ll show you Steve Light getting ready for Swap! KidLit TV tagged along as the author and illustrator installed the Swap! window at Books of Wonder in New York City.

Do follow Steve on Instagram and Twitter if you want to keep up with what he’s doing before, during, and after he creates a picture book. Steve was so inspired by what he learned about ships that he made his own! The airship he built for his book Zephyr Takes Flight can be found in the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.

Steve Light Swap Window - Inside Apartment
Steve shows off the elements for the “Swap!” window he constructed in his apartment.


Steve Light Swap Window - Boat
A miniature ship Steve made for fun.
Watch Steve on StoryMakers and download activity kits for his previous books.

StoryMakers - Steve Light


Swap Cover IndieboundSwap!
Written and illustrated by Steve Light
Published by Candlewick Press

An old ship. A sad friend. A button … An idea. Let’s SWAP! In a young scalawag’s first tale of bartering, a peg-legged youngster sets out to help his captain repair his vessel. One button for three teacups. SWAP two teacups for four coils of rope. SWAP and so it goes, until the little swashbuckler secures sails, anchors, a ship’s wheel, and more … including a happy friend. Steve Light’s intricate pen-and-ink illustrations, punctuated by brilliant blue and other hues, anchor this clever tale of friendship and ingenuity.


Steve Light is the author and illustrator of several books for children. When he isn’t writing, he’s teaching pre-k students in New York City. Steve is a collector of fountain pens; he has more than 80. When Steve isn’t writing and illustrating he can be found creating models — some of which are inspired by his books –, or carving storyboxes; wood dolls and props that fit in a box, which can be used to tell stories. Steve lives in New York City with his wife.

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Books of Wonder first opened its doors on September 2, 1980. The tiny, hole-in-the-wall shop was barely 200 square feet with bookshelves hand-built by 20-year-old founder, Peter Glassman, and his partner James Carey. The original concept was for the store to be devoted primarily to antique children’s books until Peter discovered he didn’t have enough antique books to fill his shelves, and quickly decided to add a section of new children’s books as well. Located at 444 Hudson Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, the store moved up the street to 464 Hudson in 1982 to larger quarters – though still small, at only 400 square feet.

In 1985, Books of Wonder began its publishing division by establishing a joint imprint with William Morrow and Company. Starting with one title per season, this imprint grew at one point to include over 60 titles. Since the acquisition of Morrow by HarperCollins Publishers in 1999, many of the Books of Wonder Classics titles have been allowed to go out of print, but our proudest achievement – reissuing all 14 of L. Frank Baum’s classic Oz books with all their original full color illustrations as Baum and his artists originally envisioned them – remains a resounding success. All 14 titles are still in print nearly 30 years after we began this project.

Books of Wonder launched its mail order operation in 1985 with its first semi-annual catalogue, The Oz Collector. Two years later the company began its monthly newsletter/catalogue, Books of Wonder News. Today, Books of Wonder is recognized as “the source” for Oz books and Books of Wonder News has evolved into a full color catalog issued a few times a year. Like the rest of the world, our mail order business has gone “online” and we maintain an active website where our friends and customers may find treasured classics as well as today’s best new titles – often signed by their authors or artists.

In 1986, Books of Wonder expanded to two stores with the opening of a new, larger location at 132 Seventh Avenue on the corner of 18th Street. Three times the size of the Hudson Street location, the new store quickly became known not only as the largest children’s bookstore in New York, but as one of the nation’s finest. As more and more customers came to 7th Avenue, we chose to expand that space and close Hudson Street in 1993 after nearly 14 years in the West Village.

In 1996, Books of Wonder moved to an even larger, better trafficked location at 16 West 18th Street. With a third more space than our 7th Avenue location, Books of Wonder continued to grow in our new location, hosting standing-room only events with such celebrated authors as J.K. Rowling (twice!), Madeleine L’Engle, Lloyd Alexander, Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, and many others.

Read more about the history of Books of Wonder, here.

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One Comment

Kid Lit TV Commenter Julie Gribble

OK. I’m loving this video! Steve, thank you for letting us know about the Books of Wonder window installation. We’ll follow you anywhere!


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